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How Do You Kill Kudzu Vines? Does Any One Offer…

Steve Asked

How do you kill kudzu vines? Does any one offer this service?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Steve: Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) was purposefully planted for erosion control in the late 1800s. Native to Asia, this rapid growing vine has literally taken over some areas of the Southeastern United States. It can climb up to 60 feet per year, suffocating entire forests and leaving native species to struggle for water and sunlight. One seed pod can contain up to 100 individual seeds that will germinate and grow in almost any condition. Once established these vines have a very extensive, woody root system. Unfortunately I do not have a good answer for you in terms of eradicating this vine. Depending on the space you are dealing with, hand pruning may be a huge undertaking but essential for control and further spread. Cut the foliage back to ground level and destroy. Do not add to your compost. Spot spraying with an herbicide will help destroy the roots although the roots can be as deep as 3-10 feet below the soil surface, so one application of glyphosate will not do much damage. This will need to be a consistent, ongoing task to control sprouting roots and tubers. If it is in an area where you can mow this is an effective way to keep it from growing. Eliminating kudzu altogether is not likely but keeping it under control in your garden is essential and will help prevent future spread. As far as resources that provide this service you can contact your Cooperative Extension Service to ask for local suggestions. The phone number for the Jefferson County Office is (502) 569-2344.

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